Michael B. Duff

Lubbock's answer to a question no one asked

The Doctor is Dead

Long live The Doctor!

My first exposure to Doctor Who was the 1996 TV movie by Philip Segal. It was a noble effort that ultimately failed to rekindle the series.

The real rebirth happened in 2005, under the guiding hand of Russell T. Davies. That era comes to a close tonight as Davies wraps up his assorted storylines and David Tennant ends his spectacular career as the Tenth Doctor.

Although the story premises are radically different, emotionally and mechanically Doctor Who is really the British Star Trek, featuring the same passion, the same nostalgia, the same conflicting storylines and the same epic fan wanks that characterize American Trek.

The Doctor’s storyline is so epic, so vast and so full of insane low-budget retcons, I never really had much interest in it, until Davies rebooted the series in 2005.

I can’t help but think of this as Doctor Who: The Next Generation, as Davies opened the door to new audiences, while respectfully paying tribute to the old.

And just like the eternal struggle between James Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard, people develop deep attachments to the guy at the helm.

There is a marvelous generational tradition with Doctor Who that American fans have never really been able to experience before. There is a sense of ownership here, as fans claim this actor as my doctor.

Well, I’m proud to say David Tennant was my Doctor. Perhaps the first true international Doctor, as cable TV brought the weekly phenomenon into American homes for the first time.

Tennant captured the energy, the wit and the erratic sparkling genius of The Doctor and embodied, in many ways, the best traits of a generation.

I regret that I never got to see the wise mastermind Doctors of years past. But Tennant gave modern TV audiences what they wanted, and they wanted a Doctor in tennis shoes.

The new Doctor is even younger, but they say his performance has a peculiar ageless quality to it, as if the new Doctor really is an old man wearing a young man’s body. That premise really excites me, so I hope Matt Smith can pull it off.

He had a great five minutes at The End of Time and the his season preview vid looks great. I’ll miss David Tennant of course, but I got a bit tired of the Russell T. Davies Whoverse and I’m hoping Steven Moffat can give us a bit more Highlander and a bit less monster-of-the-week.

The io9 gang has high hopes for him and I think it’s definitely time for some new blood.

But tonight is hats off to Davies and Tennant and a fine start to 2010.

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Written by Michael B. Duff

January 1, 2010 at 22:11

Posted in TV

3 Responses

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  1. i haven’t seen it yet but am so excited, just downloaded it from a friend. i never saw past versions of dr.who either and was ambivalent about this version until tenant took over, then i was hooked. he was indeed perfect and i worry about his career after this–he tends toward hammy and that really works for dr.who but i don’t know if it’ll work elsewhere…

    and i just have to add that this version of dr.who is more like britain’s buffy (which davies himself said was the inspiration) than star trek. but historically yeah it’s their star trek. and i too am looking forward to seeing what moffat has in store. i only recently realized that my favorite episodes happen to have been written by him. best of all being the creepy “are you my mummy?” episode.

    cynthia

    January 3, 2010 at 08:59

    • I have my comment settings set to super paranoid but you should be good to go now.

      Michael Duff

      January 4, 2010 at 12:44

  2. i just tried leaving a comment but it doesn’t seem to have appeared

    cynthia

    January 3, 2010 at 09:00


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